Reporters Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The two won the prize for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where journalists have faced continuing pressure, attacks and even murder.
Berit Reiss-Andersen chairs the Norwegian Nobel Committee. She said the two were awarded "for their courageous fight for freedom of expression" in their countries.
Reiss-Andersen added, "They are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions," She added, "Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda."
Ressa is the first winner of a Nobel prize in any field from the Philippines.
The Nobel committee noted that, in 2012, Ressa co-founded Rappler. The news website has centered critical attention on what the Nobel committee called President Rodrigo Duterte's “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign” in the Philippines. Rappler has also shown how social media is being used to spread false news and attack opponents.
Ressa was found guilty last year of libel and sentenced to jail. In August, a Philippine court dismissed the case. Ressa said she hopes the Nobel Peace prize will help investigative journalism “that will hold power to account.”
Dmitry Muratov is the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. Gorbachev used some of his prize money to help what would become Novaya Gazeta newspaper. The money went toward buying office equipment and computers.
Muratov was one of the founders of Novaya Gazeta. The Nobel committee called the publication “the most independent newspaper in Russia today.” The committee praised the paper for providing Russians with important information “rarely mentioned by other media.”
Muratov dedicated his award to six Novaya Gazeta journalists who were murdered for their reporting on human rights violations and corruption. He said, "Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Stas Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, Natasha Estemirova - these are the people who have today won the Nobel Prize.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that 17 media workers were killed in the Philippines over the past 10 years. Twenty-three were killed in Russia, the group reported.
The French group Reporters without Borders, or RSF, has worked with Ressa and Muratov to defend journalism in their countries. RSF noted, “This prize is a great signal a very powerful message to defend journalism everywhere.”
Reiss-Andersen told Reuters that she believes the awards will force leaders of both the Philippines and Russia “to defend the present situation." She added, "I am curious how they will respond.”
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting from The Associated Press and Reuters. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
journalist - n. reporter
courageous - adj. very brave
ideal - n. something that you admire and want to imitate
adverse - adj. bad, not good
libel - n. the act of publishing a false statement that causes people to have a bad opinion about someone
dedicate - v. to officially honor or remember someone or something
respond - v. to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done